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Firework safety

Every year more Americans use fireworks as part of their summer celebrations. Across the country, 47 states now allow fireworks in one fashion or another. The injury rate, based on total pounds of fireworks consumed has been on a declining trend.

In 1976 the U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission set strict safety and performance standards for the fireworks industry. Since the mandate was issued by the CPSC usage rates have increased over 700 percent. During the same period, fireworks related injuries per 100,000 pounds of fireworks consumed have decreased from 38.3 to 3.9.

"2006 could be a record year for firework usage. The national council is hard at work to make it a record year for safety as well" states Ralph Apel, President of the National Council on Fireworks Safety. "We believe if people follow certain guidelines, injury rates will continue to decrease," he added.

Safety tips from the national council on fireworks safety.

Always obey the local laws and use common sense. Read the fireworks instructions and follow them. If an item looks damaged, do not attempt to use it.

Purchase fireworks only from reputable established dealers. Legal fireworks are tested as to quality and safety. Never attempt to build your own fireworks or use illegal explosives such as M-80's or "cherry bombs".

A responsible adult should supervise all fireworks usage. Children should watch, but not handle fireworks. When used properly, all fireworks can be safe.

Use only one firework at a time. Do not attempt to combine or mix fireworks at the same time. Actions like this invite accidents.

Never point or throw a firework at anyone. Make sure people and animals are a safe distance away fireworks being set off. Use them only outdoors, and away from houses and vehicles.

Alcohol and fireworks do not mix. The National Council on Fireworks Safety recommends having a designated fireworks shooter responsible and able to light fireworks in a safe manner.

Use protective eyewear. Always exercise caution when using fireworks.

Keep a water hose nearby. Don't try to re-light a dud. Soak it in water and let sit for 15 minutes before disposal.

Sparklers are fireworks. The same caution should be used with sparklers as with other fireworks. Do not allow children to use sparklers.

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